An Update From Folk New England
It has been a few years since we have been in touch with you, and we hope that you have been healthy and dealing well with all the prevailing challenges. The simple act of “getting together” in the community has become more complicated than we have experienced before.
Our community still keeps the faith that has sustained us for decades. Someone calls our volunteers to say she has a collection of Joan Baez concert programs. We discover that they come complete with a list of the singer’s repertoire and a description of the clothes she was wearing on stage, sometimes including shoes, sometimes not. A letter comes describing a shoebox full of tapes labeled “Folk Music 1964,” they turn out to be high-quality audio recordings of dozens of broadcasts from the basement of the Museum of Science. The voices of Phil Ochs, Leonda, and the Richie Havens Trio come to life. We hear a blues singer tell an unfaithful partner that they can get back together “when ‘GBH stops being able to raise money;” Peter Stampfel introduces a song as the happiest tune he ever heard, and a contradance caller sings out over a sea of fiddles, accordions, and guitars, and the sounds of bare feet on the floor.
Fritz Richmond’s widow drives across the country to donate concert posters, jugs, and two washboards decorated by Eric von Schmidt. An old folkie drives 1,000 near-mint LPs in, including a complete Folk-Legacy collection and autographs from Tom Rush, Dave Van Ronk, and Geoff Muldaur. One of our volunteers drives across two states to play tapes for an eighty-year-old musician who has not heard her own songs in fifty years.
We are nearly completing what we’re coming to call “The Founder’s Period” at Folk New England. With your help and that of the professional archivists at the University of Massachusetts, we have assembled and preserved an enormously important witness to transformative times. Even with a shoestring (or barefoot) budget, it takes funds to keep the effort going, and it will take significant support to prepare it properly for permanent future access by students, scholars, and all those who keep the faith. We will be sharing the plans for the future with you shortly.
Please help us sustain this good work through a generous gift today. We appreciate your consideration and best wishes!
Brian Quinn Betsy Siggins Tom Curren
Executive Director Founder Chair